Fear over bus pass age hike proposal
Lifeline services at risk, claims MSP
Bus services in the area would be“decimated”if the age for a free travel pass is raised from 60 to 65, it’s been claimed.
The Scottish Government is consulting on the proposal, which could come into force next year when the women’s state pension age is equalised with men at 65.
But the move is opposed by MSP Colin Smyth and the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWestrans).
Mr Smyth said: “Many bus services run at a very fine line between being financially viable or not.
“If you reduce the number of people who can use the bus pass in our area, services will be decimated as the income for firms will simply not be enough to run many of those services. For many older people these services are a lifeline.”
A report to go before a SWestrans meeting tomorrow states that, in Scotland, a third of bus journeys are made by people with a free pass. But in Dumfries and Galloway the rate is higher, ranging from 33 to 99 per cent depending on the route.
The report adds: “Bus can be the only travel option available for a number of our residents and provides access to employment and essential services.”
Transport Mi n i s t e r Humza Yousaf launched the consultation in August and said steps had to be taken to “ensure free bus travel can continue to benefit those who have the greatest need”.
Age Scotland wants people to make their views known before the consultation closes next Friday.
Campaign Colin Smyth MSP with pensioners opposed to increasing the bus pass age